Removing Honey from Silk

Written by April Reinhardt (last updated November 18, 2019)

A natural protein fiber woven into textiles, silk is the filament of cocoons formed by caterpillars. A caterpillar, or silkworm, can spin about one mile of silk in three days. After being brushed and formed into filaments, the raw silk is placed onto a spinning wheel where it is twisted with more filaments until the silk becomes thread. It can then be dyed and woven into textiles.

Because silk can attract pests and bugs if left dirty, it is best to clean foodstuffs from silk as soon as possible. But since silk can stain, shrink, and fade easily, you need to take extra care when washing it. Removing breadcrumbs from a silk blouse with a flick of your fingers seems easy enough, but if you've dripped honey onto a silk tie or blouse while eating your biscuits, the cleaning job will prove more daunting. Since honey is dense, sticky, and is apt to stain fabrics, removing honey from silk requires several steps. Here are some guidelines for removing honey from silk:

  • Act immediately. Don't wait for the honey to harden.
  • Do not use a washing machine to wash silk. Use a clean bathroom sink and fill it halfway with lukewarm water.
  • If you have iron in your water, or if your water is hard, add a spoonful of borax.
  • Use a mild detergent such as Woolite, Ivory liquid, or baby shampoo.
  • Completely rinse the honey from the silk. Do not rub the fabric, as you may spread the honey to other areas. Honey's composition breaks down the more you dilute it with water. Hold the fabric under running lukewarm water until the tackiness disappears.
  • Add a few drops of the detergent and gently massage into the fabric.
  • Rinse the garment again and again until the soap residue is gone.
  • Do not wring the garment. Instead, lay the garment flat on a thick towel, and roll it loosely. Allow the garment to stay inside of the towel overnight.
  • Unroll the towel the following day and remove the garment to another clean, dry towel and allow it to lay flat to dry.

The garment may appear puckered at the seams after you remove it from the rolled towel. The puckers will disappear after the garment is completely dry. Sometimes the drying process may take several days. Never apply heat to dry silk.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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